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This interview with Chris Berns forms of the of the seven actions in the “Fun with Cancer Patients” The production is by Kate Rowels.
For the Questions Action (Chris Answering All the Questions)
Cancer has gone from the taboo that we don’t talk about it to being something that we can all talk about, all the time. Patients often come under pressure – if they are in any social world at all – to tell every questioner about the chemotherapy, the procedures, etc etc etc… It can be so intrusive. It’s often hard for patients to feel that sometimes it’s ok to say “No”. Just because someone asks something doesn’t mean that they have a right to an answer. It’s really a reversal of the normal etiquette, not to answer a direct question and we often have to find a form of words that works for each person to fend off these questions without feeling rude. I ask patients, “Look, if you had food poisoning, or an upset stomach, wouldyou think everyone should know the quality of your vomiting, of your diarrhoea?” Of course not, but because this thing is called cancer it suddenly becomes everyone’s business.